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The Top 10 Lat Workouts With Dumbbells You Need To Try Right Now

 Written by 

Jordyn Snyder

 Last updated on 

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Training with dumbbells is a great way to grow your back muscles and in this article, we have the absolute best lat workouts with dumbbells that you need to try right away. We’re going to go into the benefits, reasons to target the lats, and how the top 10 of our favorite lat exercises. So, let’s not waste any more time and get straight into it!

The Goal Of Lat Workouts with Dumbbells

The goal of using dumbbells for strengthening your lat muscles is to train the latissimus dorsi muscles (a wide, flat muscle that runs along each side of the middle and lower back) through differing rep ranges, ranges of motion, and using just a pair of dumbbells.

A muscular man performing lat workouts with dumbbells
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The purpose of the lat is to stabilize the back, shoulders, and hips. They also help you maintain good posture and support the movement in your arms and shoulders.

How To Target The Lats With Dumbbells

People often use vertical pulling options such as pull-ups and pulldown variations to build muscle mass for the lats

If you want to focus on your lats, rowing with your elbows flared out to your side isn’t going to help. It will target the upper back more so you need to row with your elbows close to your sides and pull them down by your sides, rather than just straight back. It helps if you have a neutral grip (hands facing each other) or a supinated grip (palms facing upwards) can also help you maintain these positions.

A man at the gym performing lat workouts with dumbbells
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The Benefits of Lat Workouts with Dumbbells:

Creates a better range of motion in your shoulder joints

Since you’re lifting weight over your head and to and from your chest, dumbbell exercises for your lats are a fantastic way to build your range of motion to assist with other exercises.

Helps build the posterior chain

Dumbbell exercises for your lats are a great way to build the upper body and posterior chain muscles. Creating more functional strength and growing those stabilizer muscles can help with back pain, posture, and so much more.

Limited equipment is needed

You can use things like an adjustable bench and fancy equipment, but in reality, all you need is two dumbbells for most of these exercises. This means no need for lots of space and is easy for beginners if they have limited gym options.

No need for heavier weights

Whether you’re a newbie or a dumbbell veteran, many of the dumbbell variations for the back can be done with a lighter weight and still get all the benefits.

The Best Lat Workouts with Dumbbells:

Dumbbell Bent Over Row

The dumbbell bent-over row is very similar to the dumbbell row on the bench, except we’re going to be standing. This means it becomes more of a functional movement instead of just focusing on the lats, as your posterior chain is going to be engaged to provide extra stability. This movement also replicates a lot of real-world situations, meaning that it often has practical benefits for everyday living too.

Start the exercise with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge at the hips and lean forward so your back is parallel to the floor while making sure to avoid any arching of the back. By bending your elbows, bring the dumbbells towards your chest and pause for a moment before slowly lowering them back down until your arms are straight.

Repeat this for repetitions and sets.

Dumbbell Pull Up

Depending on your preference, you can mix up your grip to focus on certain muscles more than others. If the aim is to engage the lats then an overhand grip is best. To put more emphasis on the lats, try to hook your fingers around a bar without using the thumb to grip, as this will limit the forearms from being engaged.

To do a dumbbell pull-up, stand under the pull-up bar with a dumbbell in front of you. Start with a lighter dumbbell and see how you get on before increasing the weight. While gripping the dumbbell between your feet or thigh, grab the pull-up bar and lift yourself up as you would for a regular pull-up. Pause for a moment at the top before lowering yourself back down. Repeat until the end of the set.

Dumbbell Spiderman Pull Ups

To do the dumbbell spiderman pull-ups, begin by placing the dumbbells in front of you on the floor. Lay down with your stomach on the floor with your face down and your arms extended straight in front of you. Grab the dumbbells and lift them to your chest with arms and legs off the floor as if you were crawling like spiderman on the floor. Make sure to pause for a moment before extending your elbows to push the dumbbells back in front of you.

Incline Dumbbell Row

First, set your bench up at an incline and then rest the front of your body against it with your feet on the ground. This might take some adjusting to get into a comfortable position, but once you do press your abs into the bench to keep your back from arching and remember to not relax into the bench, your abdominals, back, and glutes should all be engaged . Once ready, drive with your upper arms up, bringing the dumbbells up towards your chest while pausing and squeezing at the top before lowering them back down and repeating until the set is done.

Single Dumbbell Row

With a flat bench, place a knee and one hand on it, leaning over so you’re parallel to the bench. After you pick up the dumbbell with your palm facing your torso, keep a neutral spine position as you breathe out and lift the weight up to the side of your chest. Make sure to keep your arm close to your side while maintaining a solid torso with your abdominal muscles engaged. Lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and then restart, competing reps until finished.

Dumbbell Lat Pullovers

Lay down with your back against the flat bench. Lift the dumbbell hovering straight up from your chest, arms extended while using a diamond shape grip with both hands. With a full range of motion, lower the dumbbell over your head with your arms straight out just as you would for a tricep extension. Once the weight is level with your body, return it back to the starting position and then repeat until the set is done.

Dumbbell Seal Row

For this dumbbell lat exercise, lay down on your stomach on a bench with a dumbbell on either side. Pick up the pair of dumbbells with your palms facing each other. Lift the weights up towards the side of your chest, making sure to keep your arms in against your body and your shoulder blades pressed together. Make sure your chin is against the bench and you keep a neutral neck and spine and then repeat the steps over again until you’ve completed your set.

Pendlay Row

Created by Glenn Pendlay, an Olympic weightlifting coach, begin the pendlay row with the dumbbells on the floor with the appropriate weight for your training level, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend the knees slightly and hinge at the hips so that the torso is parallel to the floor. Once in position, grab the barbell with a wide grip. Breathe in and pull the dumbbells toward your chest. Be sure to brace your core and use the muscles of the back to pull the weights towards you. Lower the dumbbells back towards the ground and make sure the weight has made contact with the floor and pause before beginning the next repetition.

Kroc Row

Start this dumbbell exercise next to a stable surface such as a weight stack. With one hand on the surface, lean with your torso at a 30-45 degree angle. Have one leg forward and the other leg (the same side of the hand holding the weight) stepped out slightly behind you. Grab the dumbbell off the floor with your lead hand with the palm of your hand facing your torso. Focus on retracting your shoulder blades and use your biceps to lift the weight to your rib cage and then lower to starting position. Repeat these steps until your set is finished.

Renegade Row

Get into a plank position with your legs spread farther out and the dumbbells positioned underneath you. With your hands gripping the dumbbell handles and your palms facing each other, start by lifting one to your outer chest and bring it to your chest, keeping your elbows tucked. Set it back down slowly before lifting the other dumbbell with the same movement pattern. Repeat it until the set is done.

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